Wednesday, September 9, 2015


In a stealthy unilateral move, that seems to betray the concept of synodality, Pope Francis ingeniously removed from the Synod on the Family the discussion of Holy Communion for Catholics in marriages not recognized by the Catholic Church.

As well, Pope Francis has upheld the indissolubility of marriage because in justice he believes that those who go through the annulment, even if it is shortened, must be told whether their marriage that had been on trial in a Church court or by the bishop was or wasn't a sacrament. In other words, Pope Francis knows full well that not all annulment procedures end in a declaration of nullity, some find that the marriage was a sacrament.  This truth seems to be lost on many who comment on this new flexiblity with annulments in the Church that Pope Francis has unilaterally brought about, thus exercising his papacy in a very pre-Vatican II sort of way, which is the hermeneutic of continuity!

In addition, he says that if at the time of the marriage a person was forced to marry a spouse under the threat of abuse, or if a woman had an abortion prior to marriage as a sign of not being open to children, or if some other pressure compromised the due discretion that is essential for a sacramental marriage, then an annulment should be speedily given.

In fact, if a marriage is null and void, it shouldn't take months to determine this but only the facts, as Joe Friday would say, thus leading to a quick decision.

However, I recognize that there are those in the Church concerned about what the Pope had accomplished through the God-given authority given him. Cardinal Burke would be one of them and we now see why Pope Francis replaced him as Pope Francis and Cardinal Burke aren't on the same page. But Cardinal Burke isn't pope and I suspect he will never be pope. Pope Francis is pope until Pope Francis or God decides otherwise.

However, there is a very fare and balanced discussion with Fr. Murray on FOX News on September 8th with Bill Hemmer.  You can watch it HERE!

We can respectfully suggest that the pope do this, that or the other or change course and we can respectfully bring our concerns to God in prayer asking that not our will be done, but God's. I think Fr. Murray in the interview I link does an exemplery job of being respectful but also cautious.


Anonymous said...

Oh good. Now they can spend all their energy to try and push through acceptance of active homosexual liaisons. It really seems like the end is near. It's not going to be pretty.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Two people living as roommates and not having sex should be denied Holy Communion automatically?

Anonymous said...

"Two people living as roommates and not having sex should be denied Holy Communion automatically?"

No. Perhaps Father hasn't had his second cup of Joe this morning. Active homosexual liaisons men's sodomy. You know that sin condemed by God in both the Old and New Testaments. It's one of those major mortal sins that cries to heaven for vengeance.

The Council of Trent said...

"If anyone should say that on account of heresy or the hardships of cohabitation or a deliberate abuse of one party by the other the marriage tie may be loosened, let him be anathema."

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The pope and I are speaking about the threat of or actual abuse to marry, like an actual shotgun wedding. I don't think what you quote is apropos to this point!

The Council of Trent said...

Can you post the relevant sections from the pope's letters? I wasn't aware they'd made it into English yet.

Charles G said...

Nobody thought Ratzinger would be elected either. In any event, I hope the cardinals in the next conclave will resist the blandishments of a future "Team Bergoglio" and choose someone who is a little less into making "lio" and pursuing novelty and who is more humbly obedient to the task of preserving and handing on intact the entire teachings of our holy faith. I'm not sure my nerves could take another pontificate like this one.

Unknown said...

Actually, I think that the idea that the annulment reform heads off the Communiom debate at the synod is a bit presumptuous. You just as well argue that it actually intensifies it.

Anonymous said...

Charles G, I have some insight into Rome and my local diocese due to friendships I have made over the years with those who are familiar with the Vatican, as well as local clergy that I am acquainted with. The prevailing theme from them really does seem to be Francis Fatigue, they are "tired" of him if you will. One priest which I am good friends with, who in turn is close with our local bishop, has said that he is about fed up with having to do damage control for Francis, he is getting calls just about every day from the faithful asking if the Church allows this-or-that sin now, according to my priest friend the bishop is apparently feeling the same way, I will not reveal where I live due to keeping anonymity for the bishop. Within the Vatican I have been told there are these same very serious sentiments. I have a hard time believing that in the next conclave a Francis 2.0 will be elected to the papacy, we had JPII and Benedict, we tried a Francis and it is just not working out. I would like to think/hope that this pontificate is just an outlier to the norm and that this breed of clergy is on it's last breath, I mean look at the age of all those pushing the 10 years, if that, they will be pushing up daisies.

Maybe you can give some insight into this Fr. McD, you have traveled quite a bit, it would be interesting to hear what you have experienced with this, from what I have read Fr. Z seems to have noticed the same thing I have.

Anonymous said...

Get with the program. This is 2015. We need to thank Big Brother, I mean the Holy Father for increasing the chocolate ration not reducing it.

Mark Thomas said...

"...Pope Francis has unilaterally brought about, thus exercising his papacy in a very pre-Vatican II sort of way..."

One thing has struck me in regard to Pope Francis' Pontificate: Within and without the Church, many people have advanced the narrative that His Holiness Pope Francis is the most humble Pope in history (although they often portray Pope Saint John XXIII in that fashion).

Various folks have portrayed gleefully Pope Francis as a Tradition-hating Pontiff who, via his humble nature, has overthrow Papal "trappings" to reduce the Papacy to mere first-among-equals status.

Pope Francis is "merely" the Bishop of Rome...don't refer to him as "Pope," "Pontiff," "Holiness"...he's "just" another bishop.

He rides on buses and in small, "humble" cars. He lives in a guest house. He carries his own briefcase. He is simply the "Bishop of Rome"...first-among-equals.

His supposed downplaying of Papal authority has, for example, signaled supposedly to the Eastern Orthodox that the days of "meddlesome" Popes are over.

Actually, despite his humility (which I have found genuine) and the above narrative that liberals in particular, within and without the Church have advanced, I believe the following:

Pope Francis has time and again demonstrated, even if that hasn't been his desire, that no matter how humble a Pope may be, by the very nature of his office, a Pope wields monumental God-given authority.

It simply is impossible to reduce the Papacy to first-among-equal status. It is simply impossible to pretend that a Pope is "merely" the Bishop of Rome...just another "humble" bishop.

Pope Francis has time and again, not in arrogant fashion, informed us that this and that will happen...this is what the Church will do... it or not, there will be an Synod in October...the Catholic Church will celebrate the Year of Mercy a few months, the absolutions granted by SSPX priests will be recognized by the Church.

Even if a humble Pope desires otherwise, the people, the news media, the world will simply not permit him to live as just another live as just another man.

A Pope is unable to visit an optometrist's office without said visit generating international news.

Pope Francis, even if unwittingly, just displayed his monumental God-given authority as he has altered the annulment process.

Father, you noted that His Holiness Pope Francis just exercised "his papacy in a very pre-Vatican II sort of way..."

Father, is there really an additional way to exercise the Papacy?


Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

In other news, today the Pope made a left turn without giving a signal and Mark Thomas broke his nose...

Mark Thomas said...

Dear Father McDonald, if I may follow up on my previous post...

Commonweal magazine in March 2014 A.D., published the following article written by E. J. Dionne Jr. of the Washington Post:

Commonweal's headline read "Francis's Anti-Imperial Papacy A Breathtaking Shift in Emphasis".

Commonweal even featured a photograph of His Holiness Pope Francis stepping off a bus as he carried a briefcase.

The article in question said of Pope Francis that he has "disdained the trappings of piety and might, including the ornate regalia that appeal to so many prelates."

Along with the "he's just one of the guys" photograph in question, Commonweal, via the E. J. Dionne Jr. article, attempted obviously to portray Pope Francis as a man determined to overthrow the "trappings" and "power" of the Papacy.

In the comment box beneath that accompanied the article on Commonweal's Web site, the first comment reads..."With a simple life, he (Pope Francis) revealed Cardinal Burke's long train flowing behind his back as the pompous monstrosity it was."

Another commenter said of Bishop Slattery that "this guy pontificated a la Tridentine Mass wonders whose magna cappa was the longer."

The remarkable thing is that the despite the spin within and without the Church in regard to Pope Francis' supposed "anti-imperial Pontificate," as demonstrated by Commonweal and the Washington Post's article in question, the Imperial Papacy is alive and well.

Despite how the following may sound, and I don't mean this in bad way, Pope Francis rules the Church with an iron fist.

That is, he doesn't rule the Church with the world's understanding of that which constitutes an "iron-fisted" mentality.

Rather, Pope Francis rules the Church with an "iron fist" of humility and proper and holy firmness of a a Pope must and should if he hopes to teach, govern, and sanctify the People of God.

For example, not that he did so out of meanness, but Pope Francis recently shattered the argument, advanced by many Churchmen, that the Faithful should shun the SSPX. Pope Francis made clear unilaterally just the opposite.

The SSPX is Catholic. As Pope Francis noted, various bishops had informed him of the SSPX's fine and holy work. Therefore, he did the right thing. He aided the Faithful who are attached to SSPX chapels.

That is what I mean by an "iron fist" in regard to the Papacy. Rather than heed the unsound advice to stick it to the SSPX, His Holiness employed his "iron fist" to bring about good within the Church.

Following the monumental uproar that had surrounded last October's Extraordinary Synod, Pope Francis did not permit anybody to shutdown the pending Synod on the Family. Nobody prevented Pope Francis from having convoked the Year of Mercy.

As Father McDonald said, regardless as to what anybody thinks about Pope Francis' decisions, "Pope Francis is pope until Pope Francis or God decides otherwise."

It is interesting that liberals in particular, within and without the Church, portray Popes Francis and Saint John XXIII as the two most humble..."aw shucks, we're just mere Bishops of Rome..., unassuming, meekest Popes in history.

However, those same folks shout with glee that Pope Saint John XXIII was a revolutionary who shattered the supposed Imperial Papacy. They advance the same claim about Pope Francis.

Liberals have the above wrong. Despite said narrative, the Imperial Papacy remains in place.

Today, even without the sedia gestatoria and Papal Triple Tiara, Pope Francis rules the Church with an "iron fist". That is, he is a humble man who governs the Church with resolve.

Pope Francis has just made that clear via his reform of the annulment process.

He is the Roman Pontiff and that is that.


Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas said...

Dear Father McDonald, how difficult has it been throughout your priestly ministry to have discerned among engaged couples "red flags" that suggested to you that pending marriages may have been headed for trouble?

Father, despite the best efforts of priests and everybody involved in the marriage preparation ministry, is said ministry "hit and miss"?

That is, the bottom line is that each person is responsible for his/her behavior. Therefore, marriage preparation can go just so far as a married couple will make or break ultimately their marriage.

Thank you.


Mark Thomas

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I have no idea how many weddings I have performed, although it wouldn't be that hard to find out. I would not be surprised if 50% of those Couples have divorced even though I was very solicitous in trying to give them a solid formation. The forces of secularism and indifferentism work against life long marriage and in the south we have so many mixed marriages that up the possibility of divorce but not always.

Frankly se marriages I thought would not last have and others I thought would last failed and sometimes rather quickly!

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I would also say if two highly practicing Catholics marry, attend Mass each Sunday, go to confession frequently, pray in the home and have home devotions and catechesis and finally practice natural family planning, I think there is no statistical evidence of divorce in this group!

Lefebvrian said...

Father, I wholeheartedly agree with your post at 3:47, except the part about NFP, which is usually taught and practiced in a way that violates Catholic teaching.

George said...

Mark Thomas:

"Following the monumental uproar that had surrounded last October's Extraordinary Synod, Pope Francis did not permit anybody to shutdown the pending Synod on the Family. Nobody prevented Pope Francis from having convoked the Year of Mercy."

Who, praytell, would have prevented this pope, or any other pope from doing these things?

"As Father McDonald said, regardless as to what anybody thinks about Pope Francis' decisions, 'Pope Francis is pope until Pope Francis or God decides otherwise.' "

Now that I agree with.

Mark Thomas said...

George said..."Who, praytell, would have prevented this pope, or any other pope from doing these things?"

There were attempts last year via petitions launched by Catholic groups Faithful to exhort His Holiness Pope Francis to halt the Synod.

Many Catholic family groups also signed a petition to pressure Pope Francis into reiterating certain teachings that said groups insisted that the Extraordinary Synod had failed to promote sufficiently.

When last year's Synod relatio was released and tremendous controversy had ensued, several Cardinals and bishops during urged Pope Francis to reiterate immediately various teachings.

Pope Francis refused to respond immediately to the pressure in question that had been heaped upon him.

Vicious infighting has marked the Church from Her beginning to date. Today, there are Catholics determined to topple Pope Francis' agenda and Pontificate.

I am surprised that you asked "who praytell, would have prevented this pope, or any other pope from doing these things?" We are just a little more than two years removed from Pope Benedict XVI's Pontificate. A Pontificate during which various folks had worked overtime to thwart Pope Benedict's work.

Anyway,during the darkest days of last year's controversial Synod, many Traditional Catholic bloggers insisted that Pope Francis was finished. They insisted that fierce opposition among many Cardinals and bishops to Pope Francis' Pontificate would sink His Holiness.

Far from having been thwarted, Pope Francis has demonstrated that he is a man who won't permit the toppling of his Pontificate.


Mark Thomas

Calvin of Hippo said...

From an AP article: Edward Peters, a Canon lawyer and legal advisor to the Vatican, is questioning the legality and wisdom of the Pope's streamlining of the annulment process. Interesting.

George said...

Mark Thomas:

"Following the monumental uproar that had surrounded last October's Extraordinary Synod, Pope Francis did not permit anybody to shutdown the pending Synod on the Family. Nobody prevented Pope Francis from having convoked the Year of Mercy."

Again I ask, who in the Church, whether as an individual or a group, could have stopped or prevented the Pope from doing these things? Neither countless objections
of prelates nor innumerable petitions of laymen could stop the pope if he has a mind to so the things that you mentioned.